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What to Do About Spam Phone Calls

Do you ever get a phone call from a random number and wonder whether to answer it or not? Do you find a missed call on your phone from a number you do not recognize and are unsure of whether to call them back? If you are wondering “who called me from 08006404999 and why are they calling me” then you can always search the number to figure out if it is a scam or a telesales call. But really, we all want to stop these calls from coming through in the first place! So how can you reduce or even stop receiving spam phone calls?

What are spam calls?

Spam calls tend to come in four different categories:

Telemarketing or telesales: these calls come from real-life people who are trying to sell you something or get you to sign up for something. These are from legally registered companies and whilst they can be very annoying, they are not fraudulent or illegal.

Legal robocalls: these are automated calls for notifications and services or even bills. This is not necessarily spamming as you may get legitimate robocalls from your doctor’s surgery confirming an appointment, debt collectors pursuing money, a school making announcements and many other legit reasons.

Illegal robocalls: these include pre-recorded messages that you did not sign up to receive. You may have had those sketchy auto-warranty calls that ask you to press a button to connect to a representative and then that person will go on to try and scam money out of you.

Scam calls: this is when a live person calls you up and tried to defraud you. They might claim to be a well-known company or make up a fake company to try and mislead you and trick you into giving them personal details.

Why are you getting calls?

Spam calls are personal and usually, they call numbers randomly or may work by sequentially dialling numbers by area code. There is also a market for these robocallers that call with the sole intention of seeing if anyone picks up and will then go on to sell these numbers to other scammers. Some scammers can buy a list of phone numbers from a legitimate source but then go on to use it for their more nefarious purposes.

What can you do about it?

–          Register with the TPS (telephone preference service) where your number will go on a list of those who have explicitly asked not to receive sales calls. This will cut down on legitimate businesses cold calling you but will not protect you against scammers or illegal robocalls.

–          Download your mobile phone provider’s free spam-blocking app. Every phone carrier will offer free spam-blocking with the option to upgrade for a fee (but it is hard to know how effective this kind of software is)

–          Use a third-party app that blocks spam calls and texts. Most of these apps require a paid subscription and depending on what app your use, they may collect and share data about your calls.


Jeff Campbell